The 4A’s at Advertising Week New York 2019


Over four days, with more than 1,200 sessions and nearly 100,000 attendees, the 15th annual Advertising Week New York presented a comprehensive, multifaceted look at the advertising industry in a rapidly changing environment.

The 4A’s had an outsized presence during Advertising Week, hosting or appearing on nine sessions and introducing research with Google about the use of video in the consumer journey and with The 614 Group about the results of a survey on programmatic and the future of automation.

Supporting the value of agencies’ expertise, partnership, strategy, and creativity, 4A’s sessions covered a range of topics including ageism and inclusivity, media measurement standards, game design and the future of advertising, and the power of creativity in good works.

Here’s a review of key takeaways from the 4A’s during Advertising Week 2019.

Inclusion: Ageism, Mental Health, Equity for All

Lukeisha Paul, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion U.S., GroupM; Simon Fenwick, EVP–Talent, Equity, and Inclusion, 4A’s; Mike Caguin, Chief Creative Officer, Colle McVoy; Aaron Harvey, Co-Founder, Made of Millions; Heather Tinsley-Fix, Senior Advisor–Financial Resilience, AARP

Host: Simon Fenwick | EVP, Talent, Equity, and Inclusion | 4A’s

Although agencies’ financial success depends in part on its commitment to workplace enlightenment and inclusion, ageism and mental health remain stubborn blind spots in the industry’s hiring. Panelists discussed strategies for tackling the issues to increase inclusivity and equity.

“Ageism is stupid. Age doesn’t limit creativity; it enhances it.”
Heather Tinsley-Fix | Senior Advisor, Financial Resilience | AARP

“The mental-health crisis has become the problem of today’s employers because public policy has totally failed them. Decades of silence and a lack of education are a huge problem.”
Aaron Harvey | Co-Founder | Made of Millions

“Inclusion means making people feel they can show up as their whole selves.”
Lukeisha Paul | Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion U.S. | GroupM

“If many of your workforce are hiding their struggles with depression and anxiety…then it makes sense to have benefits and policies that help all employees.”
Mike Caguin | Chief Creative Officer | Colle McVoy

The Future of Programmatic: Promise, Perception and Reality

Brian Braiker, Editor in Chief, Ad Age; Nicolas Bidon, Global CEO, Xaxis; Jon Mansell, VP–Programmatic Solutions and Partnerships, WarnerMedia; Marc Mallett, VP–Performance Advertising, The Walt Disney Co.;  Marla Kaplowitz, President & CEO, 4A’s

Advertisers are demanding more from programmatic: more control of their data and brand, more efficiency and effectiveness, and more innovation. In this session, hosted by Ad Age editor Brian Braiker, 4A’s President & CEO Marla Kaplowitz and other industry leaders discussed how programmatic can deliver on its promise.

“When customers are willing to tell us a little more about themselves, we as an industry do a better job of serving them the things that are relevant to them and cutting down on the crap.”
Nicolas Bidon | Global CEO | Xaxis

“There’s been such an overemphasis on the cost piece of programmatic. We need to shift that discussion to what’s the value it’s delivering, and focus on the outcomes.”
Marla Kaplowitz | President & CEO | 4A’s

“The finance industry adopted technology earlier. But nobody said, ‘What’s the tech tax on E-Trade?’ That’s a relic of the mistakes advertising made early on.”
Jon Mansell | VP–Programmatic Solutions and Partnerships | WarnerMedia

“ads.txt is a good first step: We’ve created an auditing platform. But we haven’t automated the auditing. That puts the onus on the buyers to check after the fact.”
Marc Mallett | VP–Performance Advertising | The Walt Disney Co.

Could Emerging Regulation Kill AI’s Early Promise in Advertising?

Host: Alison Pepper | SVP–Government Relations | 4A’s

AI has shown great promise in the advertising industry—but could debates about data privacy and algorithmic fairness derail its future? This discussion addressed AI governance’s potential effect on the industry and what the industry needs to do to ensure a path forward.

“There’s no regulation at this point, and when there’s no restrictions, it can grow in any direction. But this is an area where some restrictions may be needed.”
Michael Signorelli | Partner | Venable LLP

“Do we take the high road with AI and aggressively ask ourselves if this is improving personal space? Or do you just plunge in and go all the way through, and then after something’s become untenable, you try to pull yourself up with regulation or law? Most likely we’ll see both.”
Michael Palmer | Global VP of Emerging Technologies | GroupM

Key Takeaways
  • Learn how AI governance could impact the industry.
  • What does the industry need to do to ensure a path forward for AI regulation?
  • AI has shown great promise in the advertising industry. Could debates about data privacy and algorithmic fairness derail its future?

Could the Future of Advertising be Inspired by Game Design?

Sarah Stringer, SVP–Head of Innovation, Carat USA; Nathan Phillips, CCO and Co-Founder, Technology, Humans And Taste; Julie Babb, Co-founder and Managing Director, Part and Sum; Heiko Wenczel, Head of Detroit Lab, Epic Games; Ricky Bacon, Group Technology Director–Creative Technology, Critical Mass

This session, curated by Chick Foxgrover, 4A’s EVP–Creative Technology & Innovation, explored the way technology’s rapid advancement has blurred the lines between the physical and digital worlds. The marketer is now tasked with building comprehensive, connected brand experiences—in short, designing worlds. That’s something game designers have long done, with massive commercial success, imagining experiences, encounters, emotions, progress and rewards.

“We use Unreal Engine to create games, and it’s also been successful in architecture and manufacturing and design, shortening production cycles so they can go to market earlier.”
Heiko Wenczel | Head of Detroit Lab | Epic Games

“There’s a concept in game design called ‘the magic circle,’ when everyone playing a game agrees to believe in the same thing. If a brand can do that, that’s a good indicator they can build meaningful experiences for their consumers.”
Julie Babb | Co-founder and Managing Director | Part and Sum

“In advertising, we ask how we offer experiences that offer as much value to the person receiving it as to the brand putting the message out. Game design will help people be more autonomous in the way they interact with brands.”
Sarah Stringer | SVP, Head of Innovation | Carat USA

“Games are where we allow ourselves to have truly original ideas and invest in them.”
Nathan Phillips | CCO and Co-Founder | Technology, Humans And Taste

Key Takeaways
  • Learn how world-building techniques in the gaming industry can apply to advertising.
  • Build comprehensive, connected brand experiences for commercial success and imaginative encounters.
  • With the rapid advancement of technology, the lines between the physical and digital worlds have blurred. Learn how the gaming industry creates immersive experiences

Programmatic & The Future of Automation

Catherine Dale, Regional Vice President–Platform, SpotX; Erica Schmidt, Global CEO, Cadreon; David Skinner, Managing Director–Channels and Alliances, Acxiom; John Gentry, President, OpenX

This session previewed The Future of Programmatic and Automation, a comprehensive report on the findings of a survey of advertiser, agency, ad tech, and publishing executives by The 614 Group and the 4A’s.

The survey, based on 219 responses and more than 60 hours of 1:1 interviews, revealed industry stances on topics including the business benefits of programmatic, the priorities for marketing and advertising automation, and the changes data will bring to the way agencies drive value. The prevailing view is that the promise of programmatic is still ahead of us.

“Programmatic gives you the ability to find the hand-raisers easily. Its ROI is 40% to 50% higher than ad spend in the general population.”
David Skinner | Managing Director, Channels and Alliances | Acxiom

“The intent of programmatic was never simplicity. There’s an appetite for simplicity, but this world is only going to become more complex.”
Erica Schmidt | Global CEO | Cadreon

Media Measurement Priorities

Louis Jones, EVP–Media & Data, 4A’s; Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer, Omnicom Media Group; Ed Gaffney, Managing Partner, Director of Implementation Research & Marketplace Analytics, GroupM

Host: Louis Jones | EVP, Media & Data | 4A’s

The 4A’s 2019 report Measurement Priorities: The Agency Perspective discussed the challenge of accurately and efficiently measuring audience interactions as consumers access content across multiple platforms and devices. This panel addressed the advances toward and setbacks against the goal of accurate media measurement.

George Ivie, Executive Director of the Media Rating Council, believes the technology to measure cross-media consumption will catch up with standards, just as it did with measuring viewable digital impressions properly, according to coverage of the panel in Ad Age. One looming concern is the prospect of privacy regulation standing in the way, said Ed Gaffney, Managing Partner, Director of Implementation Research & Marketplace Analytics, GroupM.

This 4A’s panel featured Ivie; Gaffney; Brad Smallwood, VP, Marketing Science, Facebook; Jane Clarke, CEO and Managing Director, CIMM; Radha Subramanyam, Chief Research and Analytics Officer, CBS Television Network; Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer, Omnicom Media Group; and Peter Sedlarcik, Chief Data Officer, Havas Media.

Key Takeaways
  • Understanding of the 4A’s recent guidance on media measurement priorities for agencies.
  • Work to find solutions for the gaps and blind spots in a multi-channel universe.
  • Views on what we need to achieve accountability for today’s environment.

The Path to Leadership

Marla Kaplowitz, President & CEO, 4A’s; Meg Sloan, CMO, Verve Coffee Roasters; Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO, Calvin Klein and CDO, PVH Corp.; Gail Horwood, CMO–Kellogg North America, Kellogg Co.; Seth Rogin, President & CEO, Nucleus Marketing Solutions

The path to leadership isn’t linear; it often has more to do with who you know, and that can limit movement and diversity. This panel of four female members on General Assembly’s Marketing Standards Board discussed the paths taken and the skills they developed along the way: not just business acumen and strategic vision but storytelling and empathy. The moderator of this panel was Seth Rogin, President & CEO of Nucleus Marketing Solutions.

“I learned through a great mentor that what led you here won’t lead you there. You have to unlearn things.”
Marie Gulin-Merle | CMO | Calvin Klein • CDO | PVH Corp.

“I had a mentor say to me, ‘Always sign up to do the thing you have no idea how to do.’”
Meg Sloan | CMO | Verve Coffee Roasters

You don’t have to be the expert in everything, but you have to know how to pull the right people in and make sure they’re working in the right way.
Marla Kaplowitz | President & CEO | 4A’s

“There’s no playbook or roadmap, no blueprint. If you’ve come up in this industry, that’s terrifying, because everything is changing by the minute. If you haven’t come up in this industry, that’s exciting.”
Gail Horwood | Chief Marketing Officer, Kellogg North America | Kellogg Co.

The Conscious Creative Movement

Marla Kaplowitz, President & CEO, 4A’s; David Angelo, Founder, Chairman, David&Goliath; Bill Oberlander, Co-Founder and ECD, OBERLAND; Lauren Rieckhoff, Co-Founder, wilyfoXX Collective; Karen Duffy, Co-Founder, wilyfoXX Collective; Jason Harris, President/CEO, Mekanism

Host: Marla Kaplowitz | President & CEO | 4A’s

The Conscious Creative Movement (CCM) is an initiative to inspire creators to use their ideas and skills for purpose-driven efforts that raise the brands’ communities and the world they live in. Created in partnership between the 4A’s and Los Angeles–based agency David & Goliath, the CCM was introduced this year to generate grassroots movements for positive change within an industry led by creative ideas and strategy.

“If you’re telling your clients to live with purpose, then you have to live with purpose as well.…If you’re living your authentic truth, empathy is part of who you are.”
David Angelo | Founder, Chairman | David&Goliath

“Consumers and customers are activists—beyond authenticity, they’re looking for more meaning in their lives, and for all the brands in their lives to bring more meaning into their day-to-day lives.”
Bill Oberlander | Co-Founder and ECD | OBERLAND

“Social impact is embedded in every strategy. You can take the leader of an agency or a small brand and help them strategize to speak their truth, to be an authentic leader, and to engage and motivate people on their teams.”
Lauren Rieckhoff | Co-Founder | wilyfoXX Collective

“There are lots of ways to bring purpose to brand. Take a list of three things you’re skilled at and three things you care about, and you’ll find a combination between the two.”
Jason Harris | President/CEO | Mekanism

Key Takeaways
  • Leverage our skills as a creative industry to spark change our world so desperately needs.
  • Creativity has the power to generate impact that changes the lives of many, while changing the world around them.
  • There are no limits or parameters to the power of purpose-minded creativity.

First Party Data & Walled Gardens

Alison Pepper, SVP–Government Relations, 4A’s; Daniel Sepulveda, SVP–Policy and Advocacy, MediaMath; Ehud Furman, VP–Data, Taboola; Scott Kelliher, Head of Brand Advertising and Partnerships, eBay Advertising

This panel addressed the questions of how companies relying on third-party data will respond to new regulations and restrictions, such as how new market entrants promising consumer-controlled “zero party” data will factor into the future of data flows.

This panel featured Alison Pepper, 4A’s SVP–Government Relations, discussing the way agencies need to respond to new and forthcoming regulations. Pepper shared the stage with Daniel Sepulveda, SVP–Policy and Advocacy, MediaMath; Ehud Furman, VP–Data, Taboola; and Scott Kelliher, Head of Brand Advertising and Partnerships, eBay Advertising.